PORAC, Pampanga – Some P362 million worth of smuggled vegetables and other agricultural products apparently smuggled into the country by unscrupulous Chinese businessmen were destroyed by government authorities led by the Bureau of Customs at the Greenleaf 88 Hazardous Waste Disposal Center in time for the National Food Safety Awareness Week celebration.
Port of Subic District Collector Maritess T. Martin said 18 of the 60 forty-footer container vans carrying assorted vegetables mostly onions, carrots and broccoli were brought to Greenleaf for condemnation while the remaining container vans were under the custody of BoC Port of Subic.
Greenleaf 88 Hazardous and Non-hazardous Waste Disposal Facility situated in Barangay Mitla here is accredited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) due to its sophisticated machineries and equipment, said Robert Gaza, administrator of Greenleaf 88.
Other government agencies that joined the event are the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the local government unit (LGU) of this town.
A large volume of smuggled vegetables were found to be in an advance state of decomposition when container vans were opened by personnel of Greenleaf and BoC.
“These smuggled agricultural products can easily be decomposed due to prolong exposure of container vans to heat while under the custody of BOC Port of Subic,” said Gaza who supervises the opening of 18 cargo trucks.
Department of Agriculture Officer in Charge (OIC) Zambales Provincial Director Enrique Tacbad said imported vegetables flooded the local and national markets greatly affecting traders and farmers especially in the mountain province, one of the biggest sources of vegetables in the country.
“Lately kapunapuna ang pagdagsa ng mga imported na vegetables na syang ikinalugi ng maraming farmers dahil sa ang presyo ay napakababa. Farmers and traders cried unfair completion,” said Tacbad.
Worst is, Tacbad said our consumers does not even know the quality of imported vegetables. “Is these imported vegetables safe for consumption?”
Martin said the smuggled goods entered the Port of Subic and were declared as frozen breads, jams, and yellow onions consigned to Zhenpin Consumer Goods Trading; Duar Te MiraNon-Specialized Wholesale; Gingarnion Agri Trading and Thousand Sunny Enterprise.
“The Port of Subic immediately seized and issued forfeiture process against the cargoes for alleged violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the DA Circular number 04 series of 2016,” Martin explained.
She said the seized smuggled goods is considered the largest forfeiture made by the Port of Subic.